I'm a non-binary portrait photographer from Portland, Oregon. I'm 32 years old. My pronouns are they/them. I am a White person. I grew up poor, and now I'm in the artist/working class. I experience chronic pain and chronic depression. I have panic and anxiety. I am a recovering addict with four years of sobriety. If I were to call a religion mine, I would say I'm more Buddhist-leaning, but I believe in the power of mindfulness, meditation and prayer to a universal power of my understanding. Those are a few of my identities that shape my perspective. I'm charged by solitude, good music, doodling with my left hand, creative cooking conversations with other creative queers, walking my pup. I'm a Taurus. I'm grounded, mindful, playful, and I love color.
In my line of work, my messages are generally falling on the spectrum of self-love, acceptance, and mindfulness. I try to create and spread positive, honest, uplifting messages to anyone who finds my work. I’m inspired to create photographs that capture emotion and depth paired with words that match the feeling tone of the image. I have an intention of not editing flaws and showcasing folks for who they are and celebrating their bodies as they are. When I take photographs of someone, my intention is to create a safe space to empower the person I'm working with. I feel a lot of folks are misrepresented or underrepresented. Being able to celebrate their bodies gives younger people of those types more agency in finding out who they are and celebrating themselves as they are and not trying to conform to this passing narrative or other traditional beauty standards. That is the future: showcasing beautiful trans and gender-non-conforming bodies, bodies of all shapes and sizes and skin tones, making sure to not edit flaws, pimples, or cellulite, capturing the beauty of bodies that have disabilities, recovering addicts, folks with mental health issues, not the well-off, slim, White cis bodies that Instagram started with.
In the future I want more lifting each other up, more lifting the voices of our Black, Indigenous, trans, and queer friends, more art, more connection to each other, more opportunities.
Before [the COVID-19] quarantine, I saw many people helping each other out. Even folks I know who don't have many resources were offering up the resources they do have to folks with less than them, offering that up freely, not expecting praise, doing it because it was the right thing. I saw a lot of that. I want more of that in the future.
I want to continue to learn and grow artistically as much as I can. My pleasure comes from creating, and being able to create the types of things that I want to create. I see a vision in my head. Sometimes I don't have the correct lens or the correct lighting or whatever to make that image come to life. By growing my skills as an artist to be able to match what's in my brain with gear, skill, and a growing community of creatives, I believe I can create the future I want to see.
My art process starts in usually meditation in the morning. I do a lot of meditation and grounding, lighting incense and candles. I create a space where I feel comfortable and filled with joy. Then play. I love doing some naked dancing in my kitchen while I make breakfast. I love being able to play. If I'm going to paint something, I draw with my left hand first to warm it up and loosen up. If I'm writing, I brain dump before I actually get into writing something. With photography, I arrive on location an hour or two early before the model gets there. I take a slow intentional walk around the area and feel what I want the images to hold. Also, I am looking for the best spots with lighting.
I recommend other creatives to read “The Artist’s Way”. That book has taught me that you know, no matter where you are on the artist spectrum, if you have never made art in your life and you want to start , no matter what, you are not a fraud, you deserve to create. You will make art that you don't like, and it will get better. Collaborate with other artists. Fill your life with art of all kinds and make it beautiful.
Photographs to me are much more than a picture of a person. I feel led by love, and I find it in each person I work with — more about the feeling of a photograph and the emotions that it brings up.
I'm a big optimist, and I see the good side of things. The photography industry as I know it is a beautiful, collaborative and uplifting community. The more the merrier. Anybody is invited to see this art. It's not , “Look at this art, you should pay attention to us.” It's more of, “look at how much fun we're having. You could do this too if you wanted. You can come to the party if you want."